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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Royal Family of Brunei SL73 'Quicksilver' special roadster styled by Pininfarina

~Argento Vivo~ The automotive world is one of enormous diversity. Quite often designers are given the green light to unleash their imagination giving us some truly amazing stuff. On the other hand, the modern-day regulations has been cracking down harder and harder on the automotive design language, and many amazing concepts remained one-offs. Besides that many epic concept cars, regardless of the brand, boasted under Italian styling. 
The Honda Argento Vivo by Pininfarina debutted at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995 featured with the soft and flowing surfaces of the front and rear bonnets, made of brushed aluminum, suggest the idea of ​​liquid metal shapes. (Picture from: HotCars)
Such this one for example, in 1995 Pininfarina was commissioned by Honda to design a two-seater roadster called the Pininfarina-Honda Argento Vivo ('Quicksilver,' that is how the car' name was translated). This unique roadster designed by Davide Arcangeli and is meant to be a research prototype of both companies. Reportedly, this concept car later inspired the Honda S2000 model which was launched by the Japanese company in 1998.
The Honda Argento Vivo by Pininfarina designed by Davide Arcangeli and is meant to be a research prototype of both companies. (Picture from: Pinterest)
The Argento Vivo is one of those extremely rare cases where a concept car has been granted production status and be sold for those with deep enough pockets, whose have a bit more luck than the average person. The sweet two-seat roadster was unveiled to public at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show by the leaders of the both companies, Nabuhiko Kawamoto and Sergio Pininfarina.
Pininfarina’s space frame of aluminum extrusions applied to the Argento Vivo was quite advanced technology in 1995. (Picture from: BenzWorld)
During the same year, the Argento Vivo received many awards, such as "The Golden Market Trophy" by the Japanese magazine, Car Styling and "Best in Show" by the American magazine of Auto Week.
The Honda Argento Vivo by Pininfarina uses a unique combination of fiber glass materials with carbon fiber, which was still a very rare sight in the 1990s. (Picture from: Flickr)
Many said also that the Argento Vivo should be included on the list of weird cars. Due to the car featured many unconventional things for its time, and the engine was one of them which used a 2.5-liter inline-five. Some might find it interesting, but this was actually a Honda engine known as the concept’s engine, but it is believed it’s a G-series engine, more specifically the G25A, which was a normally-aspirated, SOHC unit, producing up to 190 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 175 pound-feet (237 Nm) of torque at 3,800 rpm and channeling the power to the rear wheels. By considering the extensive use of lightweight materials, the 60 mph acceleration would probably could be achieved in around 6.0 seconds.
The Honda Argento Vivo's interior is custom-built by Pininfarina and consists of carbon fibre door panels, dashboard, centre console and special leather and carbon fibre seats. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
Besides that the Argento Vivo also brought many innovations, some of which still not considered as mainstream at the time such as the folding hardtop made out of carbon-fiber and was hydraulically actuated. What makes this hardtop unique for the time is that, when the top is down, the actual piece folds in such a way that no trunk space is sacrificed. Even to these day, reportedly the such kind of feature ever been tried to apply to many convertible models, but fail to integrate into the car' designs.
The Honda Argento Vivo by Pininfarina adopts sophisticated solutions in terms of aluminium space frame, rear wheel drive and fuely retractable hard top moved by a system of electric motors and hydraulic actuators. (Picture from: HotCars)
Then there are other unique innovation examples brought by the Argento Vivo such as the use of car body construction material which is a combination of fiber glass materials with carbon fiber or even Kevlar. Back in the 1990s, a combination of lightweight materials was still a very rare sight, the Argento Vivo incorporated all of those materials. The blue body panels were all made out of fiber-glass, while the trunk lid and hood were made out of aluminum, and the folding hardtop was made out of carbon-fiber. Carbon-fiber was also present on the door panels, in the Pininfarina-designed interior.
The Honda Argento Vivo by Pininfarina is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-five Honda's engine concept capable to spew up to 190 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 175 pound-feet (237 Nm) of torque at 3,800 rpm. (Picture from: HotCars)
Another feature thanks to which the Argento Vivo stands out is the two-tone interior. It not only is a perfect contrast between the silver and dark-blue body panels, but it also signifies the different materials used in the roadster. Like we already mentioned, the entire lower half of the body is made out of fiber-glass and is finished in dark blue. The upper body panels, however, are done in brushed aluminum, which is left exposed. This interplay of different materials and different tones inspired Pininfarina to further experiment with different elements and colors, for even more spectacular aesthetics.

Attracting the Interest of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei
In 1996 His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei commissioned Pininfarina to build the Argento Vivo by using different platform, but as an exact copy of the original Honda concept, even down to the materials used. (Picture from: PublicFotki)
As time went by, apparently the Argento Vivo beautiful figure also attracted the attention of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei who then commissioned the Italian coachbuilder to build several of mentioned cars in 1996. However, at that time the His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei not wanted to use the Honda' roots on the Royal Family of Brunei's special cars and prefers to be replaced by a different platform.
Some said that the Mercedes-Benz SL73 Argento Vivo of the Royal Family of Brunei built by Pininfarina as many five or six units. (Picture from: BenzWorld)
The new platform was a late R129 Mercedes-Benz SL600 chassis. The already rare German gran-tourer was completely redesigned by the Italian design studio in order to replicate the exact same design language of the Argento Vivo concept car of the 1995. With the exception of the platform, the R129-based car was an exact copy of the original Honda concept, even down to the materials used.
The Argento Vivo of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei was built by Pininfarina based on the brand new Mercedes SL600 chassis.. (Picture from: ClassicDriver)
His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei commissioned car is powered by a 7.3 Liter M120 E73 V12 engine which was also used by the AMG Mercedes-Benz SL83, which was only 19 units ever built. The machine was able to make the supercar-like acceleration with power between 525 and 565 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and a peak torque of 553 lbs-ft at 4,000 rpm. 
The Argento Vivo of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei is powered by a 7.3 Liter M120 E73 V12 engine which was also used by the AMG Mercedes-Benz SL83. (Picture from: BenzWorld)
Although His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei's car was significantly bigger than the previous Honda concept, its sprint capability 0 to 60 mph (92 kph) was around 4.0 seconds and a top speed of more than 174 mph (280 kph). This performance record is almost similar to those obtained by Lamborghini Diablo and Ferrari F40.
The Mercedes-Benz SL73 Argento Vivo of the Royal Family of Brunei was significantly bigger than the previous Honda concept, its sprint capability 0 to 60 mph was around 4.0 seconds and a top speed of more than 174 mph. (Picture from: Supercars.net)
Unfortunately any kind of information about the Sultan’s car collection is became some kind of highly secretive matters. According to different sources, five or six of these Mercedes-Benz-based vehicles have been built. Four of those were built for the Royal Family of Brunei. As with any other extremely-low production vehicle, no wonder if the price-tag is extreemely high. 
It is said that to this day, two of them are still in the Royal Family of Brunei's collection. Not much is known about the rest of the cars, but some claim Monaco is home to at least one of them. There was also a second unfinished Honda concept, which was eventually completed and is said to also be in Monaco. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | HOTCARS | TOPSPEED | BENZWORLD | CLASSICDRIVER | MOTOR1 | CARSTYLING.RU | SUPERCARS.NET ]
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